MONEY

Some Black Folks Hide Cash Because They’re Used to Being Short-Changed

Financial habits are influenced by America’s legacy of racism

Allison Wiltz
6 min readFeb 17, 2024

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AI-generated photo of Black man wearing shades | created by author using CANVA

Rather than deposit all of their money in the bank, some Black folks prefer keeping some cash on hand. If you think that someone stuffing cash in their mattress or a private safe is suspicious behavior, it’s likely you’ve never considered how racism impacts financial decisions. This topic arose during the Georgia election interference case against Donald Trump and “his allies.” The Fulton Country District Attorney and lead prosecutor, Fanni Willis, a Black woman, found herself in a political hot seat this week when defense attorneys questioned her about a romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor hired to work on the case. They also questioned her practice of storing some cash at home.

Their questioning was personally intrusive. Rather than defend their client, they tried to smear Fanni Wilis to portray her behavior as unethical. Heaven forbid a Black woman have a romantic relationship off the clock or store some cash in her home, their pearl-clutching suggested. The interview was so uncomfortable and, at times, hostile that Fanni felt they were treating her as if she were on trial instead of the former president. Their strategy was to distract attention away from the criminal charges their clients were facing by feeding into tropes about Black women, hoping to tarnish her reputation in the eyes of the court. The trial has sparked a discussion, not just regarding the potential misdeeds of the former president, but the way racism impacts the financial decisions Black Americans make.

Initially, Black people, whether enslaved or free, could not legally open a bank account. All that changed after the Civil War in 1865, when Congress established The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company. “The act had a clear objective and purpose: a simple savings institution created primarily for former slaves and their descendants. The deposits received by the bank — with the exception of a fund set aside for operating costs and other emergencies — were to be invested in ‘stocks, bonds, Treasury notes, or other securities of the United States.” In less than a decade, Black people deposited fifty-seven million dollars

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Allison Wiltz

Womanist Scholar bylines @ Momentum, Oprah Daily, ZORA, GEN, EIC of Cultured #WEOC Founder allisonthedailywriter.com https://ko-fi.com/allyfromnola